A Man Called Ove Book Review

A Man Called Ove Book Review

Have you known any crochety old people–perhaps parents, grandparents, or neighbors–who demand perfection of everyone but lack the grace to overlook their own short-comings? Have you known men or women who who dislike everyone and everything, and yet secretly helps their neighbors, teaches children, and extends kindness to the downtrodden?

I do. It’s why I loved this book. It reminded me of some special people, some unsung heroes who seem a bit miserable yet bring others joy.

This is the first book of Fredrick Bachman that I have read, and I am impressed. Funny, poignant, insightful, provocative, gracious. When I finished, I sat with it in my hands, like the book needed to lay in state. Then I had to write a couple reviews.

This is an exquisite novel about characters who feel real (I miss them already). A grumpy, persnickety Swedish man named Ove is considering the unthinkable because he cannot bear living without his wife. But a pregnant neighbor woman inserts herself into his life, then her children and husband, then the couple Ove’s been feuding with, then the coffee shop boy . . . the list goes on. As Ove begrudgingly helps everyone around him, he discovers how to live again and how to feel joy. Backman is a genius narrator, with hysterical observations about life and people. Somehow, he has managed to tell a story with serious topics in the most enjoyable and relatable way possible. I am ordering everything else Backman has written.

There’s even a movie (with subtitles). I wonder if it does Ove justice . . . ?


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